Hello, everyone! This week and last week I’ve spent some time reading for pleasure as a release from my normal “everything is work” type of reading style. So this time on “Tide’s Out” I’m showing you what I read for fun!
H.P. Lovecraft Goes to the Movies
I love science fiction, but I’m not a huge fan of horror. I am, however, a fan of the history of science fiction and you can’t have a complete grasp of that without delving into the weird world of H.P. Lovecraft. This collection of his short stories adds in notes about which movies were made based on the stories, many of which seem to star the late and very great Christopher Lee.
These stories are rightfully legendary. They manage to be plain and simply creepy while still sounding scientific. For instance, one of my favorites is “The Dreams in the Witch House” which features a mathematics student dreaming his way into the occult by studying how maths can lead to interdimensional travel. Combining study of high level maths and occult tomes like the Necronomicon, the student travels through dimensions, chased by the evil and terrifying characters Keziah Mason (or Nahab) and her familiar “Brown Jenkins.” I was duly and enjoyable terrified and immediately decided that from now on I would only read this book in full daylight nowhere near bedtime.
Blue Beetle, Volume 1 & 2
So, my journey into comic books has been documented before, but usually through the favorite superheroes like Batman and Superman. This time around I tried to find heroes who are less mainstream. Blue Beetle was one of my choices and I grabbed the first two volumes of his New 52 incarnation.
This is the story of Jamie Reyes, a high schooler who gets saddled with an alien form of sentient tech that turns him into the Blue Beetle. Jamie struggles with the violent entity he is now melded with: the “bugsuit” wants to kill everything and take over the Earth, Jamie really just wants to date a girl and not kill his family. You know, typical teen stuff. It’s a really great story about a kid just trying to figure out very grown up and complicated things, experiencing life in a way that moves him from being a kid to being an adult. Not everyone gets a maniacal killer “bugsuit” and super powers, but I think most people know how Jamie feels anyway. Growing up sucks.
The Doctor and the Kid
Steampunk Wild West. That’s really all you need to know.
I haven’t read this one yet, though I did look at the first chapter. Doc Holliday is the main character and he is dying of consumption. In the first chapter he meets Oscar Wilde who engages him on a kind of mystery. I couldn’t not get this book from the library. Sadly, this is not the first book in the series, but I won’t let that stop me. I feel like these might stand on their own to a certain degree.
Secrets of the Knights Templar
There are few really good, real life conspiracy theories that thrill me as much as the Knights Templar. Knightly chivalry and possible magic and esoteric knowledge and a hidden treasure? What’s not to love? But the Knights Templar were also historical figures whose story is interwoven with the Crusades, one of the most interesting times in history. This book takes a very matter of fact look at the Templars and why some of the myths we love so much exist today. If I’m honest, there was less hidden treasure and magic than I would have liked, but this was a good read anyway.
Honorable Mention: Quarterly Essay, “Blood Year” by David Kilcullen
In my line of work, reading scholarly journals and political periodicals is all part of the job description. Quarterly Essay is one of the best publications around for in depth politics. This issue was written by David Kilcullen, an Australian who worked with the US government in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is his account of what happened and how it led to the rise of ISIS, as well as how the continuation of old policy is making things worse. If you want a good look at current events from scholars, experts and the people who were there when it happened, Quarterly Essay is what you want.